Fairbanks, Alaska | 11/26/21 | Isaac Smoldon
A three-goal 1st period from the Ice Dogs would prove to be Anchorage’s undoing, as Fairbanks would take the first game of the weekend by a score of 4-2. The first three Fairbanks tallies came unanswered, before Anchorage strung two goals in a row in the 2nd period to keep the contest a close affair. Anchorage will now have to battle for a series split by winning Saturday’s contest to keep up with the other top teams in a tightly contested Midwest division.
It would take only 34 seconds for the Ice Dogs to get on the board. Tyler Stewart was able to beat Anchorage goaltender Raythan Robbins over his near-side shoulder to give the Ice Dogs the 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Brendan Miles tipped a shot from the point past Robbins to put Fairbanks up by two. Late in the period Cameron Ricotta scored off a rebound from the point, and Kayden Hargraves kept Anchorage scoreless to give Fairbanks a three-goal lead heading into the 2nd period.
The Wolverines got their first goal of the contest a few minutes into the middle frame, as Alexander Babich fired a one-timer from Skylar Gutierrez past Hargraves. Shortly after, Talon Sigurdson scored a similar goal from the opposite side to cut the Ice Dogs lead to one. Robbins shut down all nine Fairbanks shots in the period and the Wolverines went into the 3rd trailing by just a goal.
Both goaltenders would make ten saves a piece to keep the score unchanged through most of the 3rd. The Wolverines had their chances, but Alexander Malinowski’s empty netter secured the Fairbanks win with 1:31 remaining in the period. Robbins would stop 28 of 31 in the game, while Hargraves was good for 23 saves on 25 shots in the contest.
The Ice Dogs are now once again ahead of the Wolverines by four points in the Midwest division standings. While the Wolverines currently sit four points out of first place and are tied with two other teams for third, they have games in hand on every team in the Midwest. The Wolverines will look for revenge in Saturday’s contest against Fairbanks, which is the last meeting between the two clubs in the calendar year.